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September 17, 2016

Report: Pennsylvania representative expects shocking findings from clergy sexual abuse investigation

Religion Sexual Abuse
Clergy sex-abuse case Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Clergy sexual-abuse grand-jury reports are thrown on the steps leading into the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia during a 2016 press conference held by victims.

Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Rozzi recently testified before a grand jury that's investigating clergy sexual abuse within Catholic churches across Pennsylvania, he said Thursday.

Rozzi, who was sexually abused by a priest with the Diocese of Allentown when he was an altar boy, told WFMZ-TV 69 that "people are going to be really, really shocked" when the Pennsylvania Attorney General uncovers their findings.

Rozzi, who represents parts of Berks County, received a subpoena from the attorney general's office months ago but only recently testified. The office is investigating abuse within the Diocese of Allentown.

Matt Kerr, a spokesperson with the diocese, said in a statement that the organization has a "zero tolerance for offenders" and that they "pray for all victims of abuse and continue to educate thousands of children and adults in the diocese on how to spot and report abuse to the proper authorities."

Days ago, the Lehigh County District Attorney's Office charged Msgr. John Stephen Mraz, a part of the Diocese of Allentown, with possessing child pornography after an investigation that began months ago.

Mraz was since removed from public ministry, according to the Diocese of Allentown.

The Diocese of Harrisburg told local media outlets that it also received a subpoena and is cooperating with the investigation.

The news comes months after the attorney general's office released a 147-page report that detailed the findings of a yearslong investigation into clergy sexual abuse within the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The report revealed the stories of hundreds who were abused by about 50 priests.

Rozzi announced Friday that he will hold a news conference on Tuesday in Philadelphia concerning House Bill 1947 that looks to change the statute of limitation on child sexual abuse cases. Rozzi also plans on discussing the investigations into abuse in the Allentown and Harrisburg areas.